Two strings to his bow

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Arrowtown-based jewellery mogul Michael Hill has been indulging his sporting and artistic passions just weeks from turning 70.

Last weekend Hill played golf on his private course at the two-day Hills Cure Kids Open, which raised more than $40,000 for the local-based children’s health charity.

The tournament, targeting Otago-Southland players, came a year after The Hills course launched with the first of three New Zealand Open tournaments – the next one tees off on March 12.

Hill gets out his rare 1798 Ceruti violin tomorrow night for a concert at the course clubhouse with Christchurch-based harpist Helen Webby and flautist Anthony Ferner.

Hill joins them for works by Bach and Massenet but admits he’s not had a lot of practice time.

The Italian violin’s worth “quite a lot of money, I’m not telling you – they’re like museum pieces, they’re certainly not making any more”.

Hill, who sponsors an international violin competition in Queenstown and Auckland every two years, last performed publicly in the Gibbston Valley Wines cave in the late 1990s.

His nine-year-old grandson Oliver will also take to the stage to perform The Devil’s Dream on a half-size violin.